Power cuts, LP gas shortages amplify struggle to stay warm amid cold snap

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Veronica Mokhoali

57 days ago
Power cuts, LP gas shortages amplify struggle to stay warm amid cold snap FILE: Lucky, 55, brews some tea to warm up in the bitter cold in Wilgespruit, Johannesburg, on 28 May 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – As South Africa braves a succession of cold fronts, Eskom’s latest bout of power cuts, and disruptions to the supply of LP gas have culminated in an even icier outlook for the country.

Temperatures across the country are expected to plummet, bringing bitterly cold conditions.

It’s during these conditions that electricity and gas usage spike, but South Africa’s power utility and major gas suppliers are already struggling to meet the current demand.

Eskom managed to stave off rolling blackouts in recent weeks, but due to a loss in generation capacity as well as an increase in demand, the pressure was back on.

Residents in Gauteng, the Free State, North West, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal are in the grips of a cold snap.

This is a result of a cold front that has moved inland from the Western Cape.

READ: Widespread frost forecast as Gauteng sees the coldest night this decade

The South African Weather Service said that the cold weather could last through the weekend, with some parts of the country experiencing temperatures as low as -8 degrees Celsius.

Forecaster William Msimanga said: "We do expect cold conditions to dominate in most parts of the country. Temperatures will remain cold, to very cold, conditions. Those conditions are still expected during the course of Saturday, where we are expecting minimum temperatures to be below zero degrees in most areas over the central interior."

This comes as South Africans had to endure stage 2 power cuts on Thursday night after Eskom said repairs for two generation units were delayed, causing capacity constraints.

ALSO READ: Eskom stage 2 load shedding to hit SA between 4 pm and 9 pm on Thursday

While those who rely on LP gas to heat their homes were also left destitute after the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal resulted in disruptions to supply.

The unrest has led to a backlog of orders, with some retail distributors waiting to be resupplied.

As Eskom tries to replenish its power system, it urged users to reduce their electricity consumption.

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This article first appeared on EWN : Power cuts, LP gas shortages amplify struggle to stay warm amid cold snap

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